Grantee: Terry T. Huang

Terry T. Huang

Terry T. Huang, PhD, MPH, MBA

Prevention Scientist
  • CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

Current Title
Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy & Management
Director, Center for Systems and Community Design
City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

Describe your scientific identity.
I am a prevention scientist with an interest in systems approaches to community and population health, through the lens of systems and implementation sciences, cross-sectoral partnerships, design thinking, and social entrepreneurship.

What are your research interests?
I have a long history of research and policy leadership in the areas of obesity and chronic disease prevention. My work spans from the clinical epidemiology of obesity to social and environmental determinants and prevention and policy issues. I subscribe to a systems view of obesity and chronic disease and strive to seek innovative and integrative ways to address these health challenges.

What is the significance of your current research project?
The Physical Activity and Redesigned Community Spaces (PARCS) Study is an innovative research collaboration with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to explore the relationship between park improvement and New Yorkers' physical activity, mental health, quality of life, and community well-being. The study is the largest natural experiment of this kind to date. Findings will inform investments in health-oriented urban design policies and offer evidence for addressing health disparities through built environment interventions.

What motivated you to work in health behaviors research?
Behavior change, whether at the level of a community resident or policy-maker, is fundamental to improving individual and population health. The field of health behavior research is inherently transdisciplinary, bringing together diverse frameworks and methods to understand and change people's behavior. This is very aligned with my systems science orientation.

Describe something that had a profound influence on your program of research or scientific interests (an "ah-ha!" moment).
As an undergraduate student, I was originally intending to pursue a clinical career. However, in my final year, I had the chance to do an undergraduate thesis in the burgeoning field of health psychology. It was then I realized how much I was drawn by research that cut across disciplines, combining the biological, social, and other sciences. This shaped my pursuit of public health and preventive medicine in graduate school. More recently, I completed my M.B.A., further expanding the theoretical and methodological toolbox to address public health challenges.

Selected training, awards, and honors:

  • Ph.D., Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California
  • M.P.H., Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Southern California
  • M.B.A., IE Business School, Madrid, Spain
  • BA, Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • Fellow, Councilor, and Past Program Chair, The Obesity Society
  • Vice President North America/Trustee, World Obesity Federation
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Innovation Award (2010)
  • NIH Director's Award (2011)
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center Distinguished Scientist (2013)
  • Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine (2019)

Behavior change, whether at the level of a community resident or policy-maker, is fundamental to improving individual and population health.”

Selected Grants

Project Title Grant Number Program Director
Impact of Park Renovations on Physical Activity and Community Health in NYC 5R01CA206877-04 David Berrigan